What Could Autonomous Driving Mean For Trucking?

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A few weeks ago, I published a piece on how electronic tracking devices could lead to a safer, more efficient trucking industry. Today, I’d like to revisit the topic, in a sense. See, truck-bound sensors are only the tip of the iceberg here, and a gradual build-up to something that’s been brewing in the automotive industry for years.

Self-driving vehicles.

That isn’t just in the realm of science fiction – as a matter of fact, autonomous vehicles have been around for quite a while.

“It’s easy to think that driverless cars or Tesla’s lane-changing advances are inventions of the very recent past,” reads a post on the Car and Driver Blog.“But as Arizona State University historian Jameson Wetmore explains, people have been dreaming about self-driving cars for a very long time…at this point, it’s very likely that self-driving cars will become an important piece of the transportation puzzle.”

The industry is advancing at a breakneck pace. Google’s self-driving cars have already driven over two million miles between them. And believe it or not, they’re actually at risk of losing out to rivals such as Tesla.

But what does this mean for you, exactly?

Simple. The roads get safer for everyone. You’ve less risk of injury while driving. And more importantly, the transport field undergoes a revolutionary transformation, with truckers taking on more of a custodial role than acting as actual drivers.

Such trucks are already on the road, courtesy of a company known as Otto.

“Trucking automation technologies are presently designed for highway driving, necessitating the driver to take control before and after the highway portion of the trip,” writes Robotics Tomorrow’s Len Calderone. “While self-driving cars get most of the credit for capturing the public’s imagination, autonomous or nearly autonomous tractor-trailers are starting to move goods across the world’s highways.”

With technology handling most of the heavy lifting where driving is concerned, the risk of accident goes down significantly. But that doesn’t mean we’re totally in the clear. Trucking firms still need to securely implement such technology – and the same companies that shirk maintenance duties might install shoddy, less-than-secure knockoffs of established systems; tools that are easily hijacked and exploited by criminals.

In other words, autonomous trucks could make the road safer, but they could also make it more dangerous than ever. Moving forward, we cannot afford to grow complacent. There will always be managers who seek to cut corners, and there will always be firms that do less than is required of them from a safety standpoint.

And by that vein, there will always be law firms like Bormaster Law who take such companies to task, ensuring that they don’t get away with their corruption.